Polyamorous Home in Bushwick Looks For Tenants Wanting Judgment-Free Life
By Kaitlyn Mitchell on May 15, 2014 7:19am
BUSHWICK — This gives new meaning to "open house."
Decked out with a hot tub and wet bar gazebo, a residential building in Bushwick is looking for polyamorous tenants hoping to live in a judgment-free space.
"Sometimes it’s hard for poly people to find housing where’s there’s no judgments," said Leon Feingold, the realtor showing the property.
"Where people aren’t always asking them to keep the noise down, or 'who are these people that are visiting you?' and 'why don’t you have a normal boyfriend like everyone else?'”
Polyamory is the practice of having meaningful romantic connections with multiple partners, with the knowledge of all partners involved.
Living with non-polyamorous people can get sticky for "polys," one open house attendee said.
“I found it to be very hard to find people who are willing to take you in when you’re polyamorous,” said Kate, who declined to give her last name.
As a 28-year-old graduate student at Columbia University working towards her masters degree in social work, Kate currently lives with her parents outside of the city. She has three partners — one is married, one is engaged and the other she has been seeing for eight months.
“I just want a place where I can take my partners to and it would be like a sanctuary,” said Kate. “It’s not exactly what I was originally looking for, but I feel safe here.”
Alysha Jones, another potential tenant, is a personal assistant and a self-identified “burner” — an attendee of the annual Burning Man event in the Nevada desert.
“I’m friends with a lot of people in the community and I really enjoy the overlap [between burners and the polyamorous],” Jones said. “There is at least one person on each floor that I know that’s moving in.”
The Bushwick building, located one block from the Myrtle Avenue M stop and known by the group as “Hacienda Villa,” is owned by a member of the polyamory community who will occupy an apartment with his girlfriend on the first floor.
The three-story building has 15 bedrooms. Each floor is an individual apartment, where a member from the community living on that floor vets potential roommates who apply to live there. Rent ranges from $750 to $1,500 per month, depending on room size and whether it has a personal bathroom.
Renovations on the building started in January. Some apartments on the upper floors have already been rented, with the first floor expected to be ready for occupancy by July.
“We’re not advertising. We’re not looking for other people. This is just friends, and friends of friends,” said Feingold. He has done five showings in the past month, and half of the rooms have been rented out, mostly by people who already knew Feingold.
Feingold is the co-founder and co-president of polyamorist group Open Love New York, and has appeared as a polyamory expert in the media.
Open Love New York boasts 1,500 members on its Facebook page and meets twice a month in the city.
Feingold calls the house a communal space, meaning members who don’t live there can use the first-floor common space for events, at the discretion of the owner.
“Once it’s finished, we hope to make it available for events for any community stuff," Feingold said.
"Anything from workshops, to speakers, to parties, to bar mitzvahs, anything. It’s a really nice, big space down there when it’s done. It’s going to be an asset to the community as a whole."